Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Economic Parley Blueprints Two Financial Agencies to Further Israel’s Growth

April 4, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two major financial ventures in which investors from abroad will participate with Israeli businessmen took shape at the world economic conference here last night. They are a $45 million re-insurance company and a finance and investment firm, to be capitalized at more than $50 million, that will go a long way toward furthering the growth of Israel’s industry.

The economic conference, called by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol after last June’s war, opened on Monday. It brought together 500 Jewish business leaders from all. parts of the world, among them 216 Americans, and a like number of Israeli businessmen and industrialists. One of its purposes is to work out deals in manufacturing and science-based industries that will help make Israel less dependent on aid from abroad. Another is to give Israeli entrepreneurs the benefit of the experience and advice of foreign businessmen, all of whom are eminently successful in their fields. The delegates were greeted at the conference opening by a broad program of tax rebates and other incentives instituted by the Israel Government to make investments in Israel more attractive.

The re-insurance and investment ventures were the subject of discussion in the conference’s finance committee which is chaired by Sir Sigmund Warburg, of Great Britain with Israel’s Finance Minister, Pinhas Sapir, as one of its participants. The re-insurance firm is to be established in Israel by 300 investors, each to contribute at least $150,000. It will back up Israeli and other insurance companies, according to Sir Isaac Wolfson, of Britain, who proposed it. The finance and investment company would provide Israeli companies with working capital to relieve their dependence on loans which now forces them to operate on excessively high profit margins.


The conference split into committees and sub-committees last night, each composed of business men in a particular field. In the committee on films, Victor M. Carter, of Los Angeles, chairman of the Republic Corp., proposed the establishment of a color film processing laboratory in Israel that would serve local and foreign needs.

Charles Clore, British shoe manufacturer, announced that one of his companies will soon establish a new shoe factory in Israel. Two subsidiaries of the Clore group will enter the knitwear and electronics industries respectively. Joseph Hoyt, senior vice president of the Miles Laboratories, which already has plants in Haifa and Rehovoth, said the company will invest an additional $100,000 for the production of isotopes in Israel for export. He reported that Miles’ Israeli subsidiary has been successful since its establishment six months ago and will double Its output this year.

Israel’s Minister of Tourism Moshe Kol, assured the conference that Israel has no intention of resorting to “Zionist rhetoric” to persuade businessmen to invest in unprofitable enterprises. He said that Israel’s state-owned industries are seeking commercial results no less than those under private ownership. Earlier, Finance Minister Sapir gave the conference delegates a list of Israeli firms that will put up shares for sale. It included an electric corporation and fertilizer and chemical plants in Haifa and the Negev.


While Israel’s ultimate aim, stressed by speakers at the conference, is to greatly reduce Its dependence on gifts from abroad, the impact of those gifts on the Israeli economy and the need for their continuance at the present time, was acknowledged. Edward Ginsberg, national chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, told the delegates that the $2 billion contributed to Israel since the establishment of the State in 1948 provided an undeniable impetus to Israeli business.

Louis J. Fox, president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, elaborated on this theme. “The one and a quarter billion dollars we provided before the war — and the many millions since — has done more than just help the unemployed, the sick and the aged,” he said. “It has been a vital economic bulwark for Israel by providing indispensable foreign currency. While our dollar gifts were turned into pounds for humanitarian uses in Israel, the equivalent hard currency was used for the critical purchases Israel had to make abroad.”

In an address to the conference this afternoon. Labor Minister Yigal Allon assailed as “ugly gossip” the notion that Israel does not value private enterprise. Mr. Allon also described technical training in Israel. He said that an extremely high proportion of Israeli high school graduates go on to study natural sciences or engineering.

Recommended from JTA